|Persona Digital Music |
Noise in Sechelt, BC
The citizens of the Sunshine coast, where I live, spent ( or borrowed, actually) over 25 million dollars to build an Aquatic Center in Sechelt. The idea of swimming pools, exercise rooms and spa facilities appealed to many citizens, however, referendums over many years rejected the proposal. When finally a pool referendum passed, I was enthusiastic, looking forward to a pleasant, healthy facility where citizens could gather to interact, relax and exercise. The result was a great disappointment to me and others. Intolerable noise levels and high risk of infectious disease proved to the biggest disappointments and biggest health hazards. Sechelt is not alone in this mistake.
Noise is loud, unpleasant and annoying sounds, often mixed together from several sources. Humans are noisy creatures. In groups, impressive levels of noise are achieved by talking, laughing, shouting, clapping hands and stamping feet. Swimming pool noise includes all the water sounds that mix together in the air - the chaotic caphony, is at best, annoying or, at worst, a health hazard.
The new Sechelt swimming pools are enclosed by a highly resonant, metal building with no acoustic damping. The sounds of children and adolescents playing in the pools reverberate and create a remarkable noise level. Adults who attempt conversation have to shout to be heard. It is easier to avoid conversation so that opportunity to develop a meaningful pool community is lost. Sustained noise inhibits friendliness, blocks social interactions and increases aggressive behavior.
To make noise levels worse, twelve overhead speakers in the Sechelt pool, broadcast mnoise from above the pool, creating an additional toxic mix of confused and confusing sound. The junior lifeguard staff is in charge of the "music broadcast" and being members of a noise tolerant age group showed no awareness of the adverse effects of noise. Even if the best quality music were chosen to broadcast (which is not the case), 12 overhead speakers mixed with pool noise will turn even high quality sound recordings into confusing noise mush. Overhead speakers are a bad idea in any environment.
A sensible person would turn off the public address system and invest in sound damping equipment to make the Aquatic center a pleasant environment for all to enjoy.
In my view, noise is often presented as music. It is easy to make noise. It is difficult to make good music. I call all bad music "mnoise." Even good music, well recorded becomes mnoise when played through the wrong sound system in the wrong acoustic environment. Mnoise is annoying, distracting and can be harmful.
Music producers who work hard to record good music are disappointed when their recordings are played through poor quality equipment in poor acoustic spaces. Recordings in stereo are recorded so the the mix sounds good to a person who is facing 2 speakers placed 8 feet apart a few feet away. Headphones are a more reliable method of reproducing properly recorded stereo sounds. Any other reproduction will produce mnoise.
Topics presented at Persona Digital Studio are from the book,
The Sound of Music by Stephen Gislason.
Persona Digital Studio is located on the Sunshine Coast, Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada. email Persona Mail.
Our Music catalogue includes recorded performances by the P2500 Band, Em4U, and the Persona Classical Consort.